Sri Lanka’s legendary sacred ‘Cultural Triangle’ extending from the ancient hill capital Kandy to the sacred royal cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, you will witness ageless and precious monuments, and ancient Buddhist temples of the early Sinhalese civilization. These three legendary locations were once historic capitals in ancient Sri Lanka.
Kandy is considered the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, which carries the most significant Buddhist shrine and the sacred relic ‘Temple of the sacred tooth’. It is believed that the sacred tooth of Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in the 16th century. In honour of the sacred relic, an annual festival is held during July/August which is called the ‘Esala Perahera’.
Anuradhapura – Honoured as the capital of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, home to several religious sites. Three of the most significant monasteries are the Mahavihara, Jetavana and Abhayagiri. The most sacred Bo tree is the ‘Sri Maha Bodhi’,which is located in the heart of Anuradhapura, and is believed to be where Buddha received Enlightenment. The Sri Maha Bodhiya is the oldest living tree in the entire world. There are many other sacred ruins located in Anuradhapura the Brazen Palace, Dagoba of Jetavana and the Ratna Prasada.
Polonnaruwa – Known as the capital of Sri Lanka between the 11th & 13th centuries. The ‘Parakrama Samudraya’ which is the largest man-made rainwater reservoir in the country. Within close proximity of the reservoir is a large statue of King Parakramabahu and many other fascinating ruins such as the Palace of King Parakramabahu, Potgul Vehera – Library monastery, Thuparama , Gal Potha – a large 26 feet stone slab, with inscribed deeds of King Nissankamalla.
In the midst of the cultural triangle lies the magnificent ‘Rock fortress of Sigiriya’ located in the Matale district nearly 200 metres (660 feet) high. The Rock fortress of Sigiriya contains the ruins of the main palace, that was on flat surface of the rock, the center terrace includes the Lion Gate, Mirror wall, and its famous Sigiri frescoes – which covers over 140 metres long and 40 metres high – could be the world’s largest painting. And today is a UNESCO listed world heritage site.
The ‘Golden Temple of Dambulla – Cave Temple’ also known as Dambulla Len Viharaya is known to be the largest and well preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. There are over 05 caves that contain ancient statues and stunning frescos, it is believed that these statues and frescos depict the life of ‘Gautama Buddha’. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 03 Sri Lankan kings and 04 statues of a few Gods & Goddesses.
Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura, also known as the ‘Cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Mihintale is believed to be the site where the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa met and inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. There are several relics, religious monuments, structures, ponds and stupa to view in Mihintale. It is now a major pilgrimage site.
Apart from the above famous sites there are other ancient attractions located within the Cultural triangle, including the abandoned fortress of Yapahuwa, the magnificent rock carved standing Buddha at Aukana, the mysterious forest monastery of Ritigala and the colourful cave temple of Aluvihara. But is not all ruins, monuments and statues that you could view, but, you will also find the Minneriya wildlife reserve, where you will see several elephants roaming around.
These marvellous ancient sites in the Cultural triangle of Sri Lanka would be the best place for visitors during this time of the year, with its intriguing cultural heritage and history.
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